Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hangover Round 2 Entry #8

GENRE: YA Fantasy

To save her war-torn country, sheltered, disfigured princess Feyana Belmaron must journey deep into hostile territory to find—and court—a ruthless enemy prince.

Tavor Castle is beautiful, for a prison.  The white stone castle is small but well-kept, and its fields and woods cover almost a square mile.  Even the looming, twenty-foot walls enclosing the grounds have an odd charm to them. To protect you, Father says, but I know better.  It’s to hide me.  The only ugly thing in Tavor Castle is its princess.

I jam my foot into Lulari’s stirrup and glare up at the walls, wishing my hate could melt them. Only a few more years, until I’m eighteen, and I’ll be free.  Father promised that much, at least.

I turn my head away and cluck Lulari to a walk. The warm breeze ruffles my fascinator and fills my nose with the scent of horse. I smile. Outside, there may still be walls, but at least there’s no ceiling. I brush back a lock of hair—and an ashen, black-cloaked woman appears in my path.

Lulari rears.

I clutch at her mane but grasp nothing.  The ground races up to slap me, and pain jars through my shoulder and back.  I gasp desperately for air.

“Your Highness!”

A stablehand races toward me, her dark hair flying behind her.  Breathing hard, I stir my arms and legs, then probe my ribs for tenderness.  Nothing broken, thank Dal. I sit up and groan.

“I’m fine,” I say.  “Is she alright?”


I look past the baffled servant.  The mysterious woman lies crumpled beneath her cloak, her face unnaturally gray. 


  1. The logline and first paragraph are simple, well written and easy to understand. I especially like the first and last lines of the first par. And the premise.

    In the second par I'd cut 'wishing my hate...' It's already understood she doesn't like being imprisoned and the following lines pick it up nicely again.

    I thought the appearance of the lady was a bit passive - if she is important maybe there should be more lead up? - and the descriptions of falling and physical pain were slightly over written. I wasn't sure who was saying, "Your Highness" so maybe intro the stablehand to before the dialogue.

    Good luck with this.

  2. Logline – it’s good! Brief, to the point. I know the character, conflict, most of the decision, and the stakes. I might consider removing one of the descriptors for the princess. I would assume she is sheltered just by the fact that she is a princess and they typically lead sheltered lives. ‘Disfigured’ makes me wonder what is wrong with her and how she could hope to court the enemy prince…which makes me want to read on to find out. The only other thing I would offer as a way to improve it would be to tell what is at stake personally for the princess…a loveless marriage/life as an assassin when she murders the enemy prince/etc.

    The excerpt:

    The sentence: I brush back a lock of hair—and an ashen, black-cloaked woman appears in my path.

    I have issue with this line. Maybe have her looking skyward since she was just talking about there being no ceilings and, while she is distracted, have the horse rear and the princess fall. When she looks up, that is when she sees the woman who’d appeared on the path…which I realize will change the next bit of the scene.

    I also have issue with the line: I clutch at her mane but grasp nothing.
    My initial thought is that ‘clutch’ is to grip or hold tightly, not to try to seize or grasp—which is the other meaning for the word, but not the one I initially understood and may be confusing to other readers too because she continues to say that she grasped nothing. The two seem to contradict. I think there might be a better word choice. Maybe use grab, which isn’t as cool of a verb as clutch, but fits the action better.
    Or you could say something like: Too late, I clutch at her mane but grasp nothing.

    I agree with Ms. Dunn about the pain being overdone. Simply remove the part about her gasping for air. And the dialog "Your Highness!" I thought was the woman speaking but it becomes clear later on. That kind of a confusion can irritate your reader.

    Other than that, I liked the excerpt and the premise and would read on.

    Thanks for sharing & good luck!

  3. I like the logline. This might make a killer first sentence: The only ugly thing in Tavor Castle is its princess. I'm a little confused about how she can be outside riding, but still within walls. Might be worth saying something about the vast lands being walled in.

  4. I also enjoyed your simple and to the point log line. I also agree that the the ugly princess line would be a great start to the story. If she's in the castle grounds, would she have an idea as to whom this woman is?